It’s Not All About Me
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” Revelation 19:10
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an amazing athlete, perhaps a national champion wrestler or a professional football player. I wasn’t particularly talented though, and I didn’t want to work all that hard. Believing in God, I prayed that he’d make me an amazing athlete. I offered him a deal that I thought he couldn’t refuse – If he made me extremely successful at some sport, I’d give him all the glory and credit, pointing others to him. My plan was for my amazing football skills to draw others to faith. Like I said – a deal God couldn’t refuse, right?
I’ve offered him other similar deals over the years. If I win ten million dollars, I’ll give half to the church. God has yet to take me up on any of my offers. He’s apparently aware of the fact that with these prayers, I’m more into self-promotion than God-promotion. I attempt to cloak my self-centeredness by pretending I’ll do spectacular things for God, but really, I’m just trying to use him to get what I want without any of the hard work. Faith is my miracle shortcut to the life I think I want, and my life is all about me.
In today’s passage though, we’re given a glimpse of our true purpose in life. In the passage, John met an angel who impressed him enough that John bowed down to worship the angel as a god. The angel knew his place though, commanding John to stop worshipping him. The angel was not God. He certainly knew the story of Lucifer, who desired to be worshipped above God (Isaiah 14:13), precipitating his own downfall. This angel knew his purpose was to point others, not to himself, but to his God, the creator of all things.
As Christians, we believe we’re made by God to live for his purpose. He desires that we love him and love others. God loves us and asks that we, in turn, share that love with those around us, pointing them to faith in him. We however, would much prefer to live for ourselves, falsely believing that this is how we find happiness and fulfillment. This is our nature – to be self-seeking. The paradoxical truth though, is that God made us to be most happy when we abandon ourselves to live for him. God wants us to know joy, but he made us to find it only in following him, which means abandoning our self-centeredness.